Archive for January 20th, 2010

Ephesians 5:21 NLT
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I Corinthians 16:15-16 NLT
You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion.

Hebrews 13:17 NLT
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

The issue of accountability has always been a no-brainer for me. I guess I owe my strong feelings about that value to my parents and in particular to my father who, despite his disagreements with the denomination he was in, chose to submit and stay accountable to them. Because of this I find it strange that Christians deny the necessity of accountability to one another and a leadership structure.

One area where accountability is sorely needed is the world of blogging and that has been said here and elsewhere a number of times. This issue of non-accountability seems to be more prevalent on discernment blogs where bloggers often criticize people supposedly knowing the will of God (in particular WoF/Prosperity preachers) and I think they are right about that most of the time. But then they in turn often claim to know the will/judgement of God about others in the same shaky way that those preachers do. When it comes to knowing or discerning the will of God I think we especially need to be accountable towards Christians around us.

It is then perplexing to me when I read something like the following:

There is a criticism – a protest, if you will – that discernment websites are accountable to no one but themselves. It depends on the context and what they mean by ‘accountable’, of course. On the one hand this is a self-refuting argument; calling out those that are perverting the simplicity of the Gospel to accountability of God’s word is by the same definition making oneself accountable to the word of God. On the other hand, to whom exactly should discernment ministries be accountable to? Should we institutionalize all these type of ministries under one banner and make them all sign some relevant decree? What happens if that institution itself becomes corrupt, then what? And if discernment ministries were accountable to an institution would false teachers take heed when warned? Of course not, it’s a dishonest criticism to begin with

It sounds to me like the author is excusing himself and other “discerners” from being accountable to other Christians. Be that as it may, it raised a  question with me that I would like to explore with all of you here:

  • Is there a point where we stop being accountable to one another or some leadership structure? What then?

Important Note: I realise that the values of submission and accountability can be abused by leaders like a lot of other good stuff. But I don’t think those abuses gives us the licence to throw these values away.

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